SPORT

Robin Van Persie Labels Uefa 'Cowards' For Supporting Cüneyt Çakır's Nani Red Card

21/03/2013 14:50 GMT | Updated 21/03/2013 14:51 GMT

Robin van Persie has branded Uefa "cowards" for standing by Turkish referee Cüneyt Çakır's decision to red card Nani in Manchester United's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

United - 1-0 up at the time of Nani's dismissal - were eliminated by Madrid in the last 16 and so incensed was Sir Alex Ferguson with the decision he refused to talk to the media after the match.

Çakır was awarded a staggering 8.2/10 for his performance despite the bizarre red card, as well as failing to spot a handball by Rafael da Silva on the line and overlooking Sergio Ramos' foul on Danny Welbeck which would have resulted in a penalty.

But Nani's unjust sending off specifically remains a sore subject with Van Persie.

"That red card was heavily unjustified," Van Persie was quoted as telling Dutch website AD.nl. "It was not even a yellow card or a free-kick. Nani couldn’t do anything about it, he hardly touched Arbeloa.

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Nani and Mesut Özil were both left astonished by Çakır's decision

‘The worst thing is that UEFA supports him. That’s cowardly, because I really don’t understand it.

"Why don’t they just be honest and say, 'He hasn’t seen it?'

"I didn’t understand before the game that this man would be the referee, such an unknown referee who hasn’t been in charge of a big games for months.

"Even the guys from Madrid told me afterwards that it was not a red card."

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Van Persie lost form at the wrong time as United went out to Madrid

Van Persie missed a number of presentable chances over the two legs. At 1-1 in the Bernabéu, he had one shot tipped onto the crossbar by Diego Lopez, saw a mishit effort cleared off the line by Xabi Alonso and was denied again by Lopez.

The 29-year-old failed to convert an opportunity when Lopez foiled him once more at Old Trafford and he has now scored just one goal in nine games.